International Telecommunication Union

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The International Telegraph Union, the predecessor of today's International Telecommunication Union (ITU), was founded in 1865 in Paris, some 30 years after the electric telegraph was invented. Its founding was formalized through the ratification by 20 European countries of the first ITU convention, whose goal was the cross-national harmonization of telegraph technical standards. This theme of cross-national harmonization of technical standards remains the framework of numerous ITU-initiated regulatory conventions since then: from the July 1875 St Petersburg International Telegraph Convention to the 1999 protocol of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), ITU conventions have maintained the focus on the mission of setting international technical standards for telecommunications. This technical mission dominated ITU operations until the 1980s, when it was supplemented with a broader social mission aiming at the expansion of access to and use of telecommunication technologies. This change in the tone of ITU's mission – adding a social justice component to the goal of advancing technical standards – was formally encoded in several ITU conventions since then. Most explicitly, the 1994 Declaration on Global Communications Development for the 21st Century went as far as to define telecommunications as a right by specifying the “right of connection.” This extra mission inspired the initiatives to create a global information society, with the two World Summit
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Globalization
EditorsGeorge Ritzer
PublisherJohn Wiley & Sons Ltd.
ISBN (Electronic)978047067059
ISBN (Print)9781405188241
StatePublished - 2012


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